Spotting Scope

  • Last Post 21 July 2014
LWesthoff posted this 27 November 2013

 Thinking of including a new Spotting Scope in my letter to Santa this year, and would like some input from some other BR shooters.  Would really like something that would allow me to spot .30 cal. holes in the black at 300 yds.  With cataract surgery (new lens implanted) and glasses I have a little better than 20/20 vision.  Couple of my fellow shooters have Kowas, and they will do it out there at 300 yds. but they bought 'em several years ago before the price went out of sight.  Been looking (in the catalogs) at the Leopold Kenai model.  Leupold riflescopes are good, I know, and I think we could probably handle the cost (right at $1000) but don't know anybody who has the Kenai spotting scope so I can't peek through one out on the range and check it out. 

 Any of you guys have any other suggestions?  Or actually own a Kenai?


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R. Dupraz posted this 27 November 2013

When I started shooting the military matches, I used my Kowa 821M with a 27x eye piece. This worked fine to spot 30 cal. holes on a black bull out to 200 until I developed the onset of cataracts. Not enough yet to have surgery but enough to prevent me from seeing holes at 200.

So after looking through some of the scopes of my regular competitors, I bought a Konus-80 20-60 zoom. At the 2013 military nationals we shot a 300 yd. match and I was a bit apprehensive, especially because it was an overcast, rainy wkend. But, seeing 30 cal. holes on out to 300 yds. was not a problem for me. for now at least.

This Konus is a relatively inexpensive scope that I got from Optics Planet. Think it was less than $300.00. The definition and clarity seem to be good for the money. whatever scope you decide on, the only thing that I would suggest is to get the largest objective lense that you can.

I have had glasses to correct my vision since the 8th grade. But my biggest problem now is getting enough light.


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RicinYakima posted this 27 November 2013


I certainly wish I could help you, but I can't. I ended up buying a Fujicon 20 X 60 with an 80M objective. It was a second from a “bird watching” forum at 1/3 price, $500.

Get with Roger Urlich at Paul Bunyon, as he has done the most research that seems to be good.

HTH, Ric

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frnkeore posted this 28 November 2013

I'm also looking for a better scoping scope. I've had my trusty 60mm Swift since the 80's and I bought a new 788, 80mm Alpen, ($460) thinking it would raise my spotting up at least one level. It did not, it was a level below so, I took it back. You can rule that one out.

I hear good things about the Vortex, Razor and Viper scopes but, they are ED/HD and out of my buget. They do make a non ED Diamonback for around $500 but, I can't find one to buy local so I can compare it with my Swift.


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billwnr posted this 28 November 2013


I'm assuming you want a spotting scope for Paul Bunyan at 9AM on a rainy, misty March morning against the black mud background.

I have a Nikon 15-45 and an Alpen 20-60 that let me see which side of the scoring line the hits were on at 200 yards at the same range under same conditions. Both spotting scopes are clear enough to spot holes but might come up short with an additional 100 yards added in.

You could check your local sporting goods stores and see what the return policy is. Try one and return it if it doesn't do what you want.

I bought the Alpen at the WAC show when I realized the vendor had it focused on the thermostat on the other side of the building.

Joe did an article on spotting scopes about 4 years ago and had various shooters evaluate their own spotting scopes. Only issue with his study is the rankings weren't done by a single individual to remove the chance that one shooter had better eyesight than the others.

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Seattle slug posted this 29 November 2013

The “holy grail” of spotting scopes. Been looking to answer your question for 15 years. Cut to the chase ” have not yet found ANY scope that will spot 30 cal holes in the black accurately at 300 yards". My criteria is to be able to see if a bullet touches the scoring line of the required hit.

More power is not the answer, bigger objective lens is not the answer. And more $ helps but the amount of money spent is still not the answer. Tried all the big $ scopes. Better than cheap, but still not up to the task

A very stable tripod/stand is required. Bright sunny days sure help a lot.

Hope Santa has the magic in his bag for you.

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RicinYakima posted this 29 November 2013


Does Santa have a set of young 40 year old eyes for me?


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longround posted this 30 November 2013

I bought one today at Menards; thirty-nine bucks. It is a 20 to 60x with a sixty mm objective. Simmons made in China,flimsy tripod but works ok with sandbags packed around it.I could see a twenty-two bullet hole at two hundred yds. The glass is nice on this one.I think it will make a nice cheap spare to keep in the pickup. Tom k.

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Loren Barber posted this 17 December 2013

Pentax PF 80 EDa with 36x fixed eyepiece. I think very good price value . ~$900. Bell&Howell , New York . Fixed power eyepieces give better resolution in my opinion.

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tomon posted this 02 April 2014

I have the Kowa 821 but I'm using the 20-60 adjustable Eyepiece. Great optics, but my eyes keep getting older. I now have to take OFF my glasses to look through the scope, but I need the glasses to see the front sight and target!

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ghgs posted this 17 June 2014

I tried and returned a lot of spotters and ended up with a Vortex Razor. Now at last I am happy...:dance

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LWesthoff posted this 17 June 2014

To answer the question I asked that started this string: I got a Leupold Kenai. It works at 300 if the light is just right. If the light's wrong (too bright or too dark) or the mirage is running, the Kowas have trouble at 300, too. At 200 and under, the Leupold is very clear and sharp.


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Tom Acheson posted this 17 June 2014

I was at the CBA National Tournament at the NRA Whittington Center, near Raton, NM in 2009. The match director (Bob Birmley) had a bunch of different scopes set-up behind the firing line and all were focused on a mirage board at 200-yards. Must have been 8-10 scope examples there. The intent was to let people compare scopes over the weekend during the match. I found my self going back to a Zeiss Victory DiaScope 85 T*L, angled, after looking at some of the others.

My wife humorously watched as I went back and forth between several scopes. She saw me keep returning to the Zeiss. So she cornered Bob when I wasn't around and got the scope's details and she must have had a good year-end bonus because under the Christmas tree 3-months later was one of those Zeiss scopes. I wouldn't have paid the huge bucks she did for a scope but it has served me well ever since. It replaced an old Bushnell Spacemaster, which has found its way into my grandkid's house.

The Zeiss is used in BPCR silhouette matches out to 500-meters. It picks up the hits on the steel rams at that distance, so I guess it does what I want it to do.


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LWesthoff posted this 17 June 2014


Wives can be pretty nice to have around, can't they? Mine will have hung around me for 65 years, this August.

Sometimes I wonder how she stood it.


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Michael K posted this 18 June 2014

My wife got her hands on a 20-60 x 85 Vortex Razor a few weeks ago at long range BPCR match and made sure that I checked it out. She later decided that we needed one.  I did not let on that I knew they did not come cheap. All she talked about for couple of days was the Razor.  We eventually found ourselves in Cabella's later the next week.  Her response when she seen the price was, well priceless. Actually more like the $1600 before tax/shipping.  That kind of money would almost cover the base price of new Shiloh.  I would likely get the nod from her for the Razor long before the Shiloh.  

Mom and dad are coming on 60 years. Mom's favorite saying for more years than what I can remember is  "divorce never, murder maybe."  Michael.

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blixem posted this 15 July 2014

No doubt about it-- price matters for scopes. I'd go with the best you can afford. I know Vortex optics have been getting good reviews lately but have never looked through any of their stuff.

I had the chance to look through two comparable Konus and Kowa spotters not too long ago during a BR shoot. The Kowa was far superior and of course is more expensive.

Also, with any spotter at higher power and longer distances, use a good heavy tripod or other support device.  

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2coldhere posted this 21 July 2014

Another vote for the Vortex. Was using one at Quigley a friend of mine bought. Spotters around me would have to tell their shooter they couldn't see the impact. I would tell them right where it hit. After they looked through the Vortex, they wanted to know where to get one. Yes they are pricey.

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